WHAT DEWEY SAYS Psychology and Philosophy THE BIG QUESTION Where is the roadmap to inner space? STARTING POINT Absence of Mind is a great new book by Marilynn Robinson. She argues that the main thing missing in the shouting match between religion and atheism is that elephant in the room: the problem of consciousness.
What is consciousness? Science has no good answers. Yet it's something we wade through it every day. It's that raw mysterious stuff out of which we conjour identities and ideas and the world around us.
Religion has some theories, sure; some bad, some good. But more importantly, says Robinson, religion has the most hands-on experience wrestling with it.
This section of the library deals with all kinds of consciousness studies: dreams, what's right, what's reality, how the mind works and how not to suffer from it.
Important stuff. Why don't they teach tools for exploring your own brain in elementary school?
Never fear. The Pearl Divers go deep fishing inside their heads, and bring us along.
CENTRAL PRAXIS Meditation
OTHER PRAXES How do you tackle inner space around other people? Psychotherapy, philosophy and religion all wrestle with that question. Are there more fun ways to do it that laying on a couch or heading into a confessional?
Definitely. Sufi ordeals of the flesh, the Situationist derive, chanting, Catholic verses, incubation, disorientation, fasting, mountain retreats, yoga, prayer, vision quests, automatic writing. Even controlled substance experiences like the ayahuasca rituals of Brazil or the tobacco smoking in Vodou and Santeria.
The mystic Gurdjieff once fed his disciple six shots of strong vodka. Then he made him wait on a table of diplomats. After that harrowing night was over, the disciple said it was one of the most illuminating experiences of his life. He had to reign in his drunken, drifting mind at every step.
Or what about competitive yoga? Snowman-building with brain-wave monitored meditation breaks? A mantra relay race? You and your omada will think of something.